Over the weekend, Iowa Rep. Steve King praised Dutch politician Geert Wilders and endorsed the right-wing lawmaker’s anti-immigration stance.
“Wilders understands that culture and demographics are our destiny. We can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’ babies,” the US representative said on Twitter.
Kings’ remarks made racist David Duke’s day—“GOD BLESS STEVE KING!!! …Sanity reigns supreme in Iowa’s 4th congressional district,” the white supremacist gushed. His statements were denounced by Democrats, as well as a few prominent Republicans.
“America is a nation of immigrants. The sentiment expressed by Steve King doesn’t reflect our shared history or values,” Jeb Bush tweeted.
In a scathing editorial calling out Republicans for their response to King, The Des Moines Register argues that the GOP must do more than tweet their opposition to white supremacy in their party. They must also stop enabling Steve King and actively work to end his political career.
“If Steve King was your average, garden-variety bigot and was standing on a street corner while spouting his nonsense to passersby, he’d be easy to ignore. Everyone could dismiss his rants as undeserving of their attention and get on with their day, they write. “Unfortunately, King has a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. He’s a federal lawmaker. He’s on the public payroll. When he speaks, he represents — literally and figuratively — the people of Iowa.”
The Register points out that King’s strategy here is not new: he’s always said outlandish things to get attention. But Republicans shouldn’t look the other way.
“King’s words are predictable, but they carry weight only because he is a congressman. And he’s a congressman because, after Republican Party leaders repeatedly denounce his words in an attempt to claim the moral high ground, they then wallow in the mud by supporting King’s bids for re-election.”
The Register calls on Republican leadership to actively oppose King when he campaigns.
“If King’s world view truly doesn’t match that of the Republican Party, then party leaders at both the state and national level need to stand together in supporting an opposing candidate in the 2018 Republican primary. Given King’s longstanding record as one of the least effective members of Congress, the GOP should have no difficulty finding a more thoughtful and qualified individual to represent the people of Iowa’s 4th District.”